“Looking Unto Jesus”: A Devotion by Archibald Alexander

Dear Beloved of KCPC: This is a particularly challenging time in our wilderness pilgrimage at KCPC right now (Deut. 2:7). May we recommend you use this short devotion to help you to look prayerfully on your Savior today, and to seek Him in prayer and adoration? Perhaps it would be good to get down on your knees before the throne of grace, reading this slowly and meditatively, pondering the truths of your Savior. Perhaps God will grant you rest, healing in Him, and deep and abiding joy! (Romans 15:13). The practice of our forefathers called ‘the art of meditation’ involved thinking devotionally and biblically with an eye of faith fixed on our Savior until this produced joy and deep warmth inside your souls, trusting experientially in your Savior. This is our prayer for you during this difficult time. Love in Christ, Pastor Biggs and Halley.


What does it mean to “Look unto Jesus”? It is (1) A look of inquiry. Who is this Jesus? I see that He is a man, for I behold Him a babe in Bethlehem. I see Him clothed with a body like other men, and growing in wisdom and stature. He has flesh and bones, and eats, drinks and sleeps. Yes, I see His body wounded and bleeding, lacerated with the scourge, crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross. See, He bows His head and dies! But is He no more than a man? In this child do we not see rays of divinity encircling His sacred head, and indicating that in union with this child is the mighty God? Divine glory beams forth from His face. This is the only begotten Son of God—God manifest in the flesh, possessed of the power and knowledge of the Most High. I gaze upon this mystery. Angels can do no more. I am lost in wonder—so are they.

This union of infinite and finite I cannot comprehend; but I can adore the incarnate God.


But my anxious spirit still inquires farther, Why such condescension—such humiliation—such unparalleled sufferings? I learn that all this was to qualify Him to be mediator between a just God and the sinner. Being a Mediator, He must lay His hand on both, and therefore He must partake of the nature of both. But my inquiry farther is, What work, as mediator, does He perform? What offices does He execute? The ancient prophets, from Moses downwards, have foretold Him as a prophet—a priest—a king. Such offices the sinner needs: he is ignorant, and must have a Divine Teacher; he is guilty and condemned, and needs a Savior—a substitute—a High Priest, to offer an atoning sacrifice sufficient to satisfy divine justice. It was this which required His incarnation, and His accursed death on the cross. And the redeemed sinner needs a King to deliver him from the power of his enemies, and bring him to glory.


(2) The look of inquiry leads the soul to the look of confidence. The soul, burdened with its guilt, and with the fearful expectation of coming wrath, finds no rest nor peace, until it gets a glimpse of the cross; beholding the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, it is assured of pardon and salvation. Nothing is wanting to its peace: justice is satisfied, God is reconciled, and conscience can demand no more. ‘There is peace and joy in believing.’


(3) A look of dependence. The poor beggar looks to his benefactor for relief and help, because he is benevolent, and especially because he has promised him all needed supplies. The believing soul, sensible of its own weakness, looks to Jesus for all needed help and strength. It relies simply on His word of promise, knowing that what He has said He will most certainly perform.


(4) “Looking unto Jesus.” This is also a longing look—a look of intense desire after conformity to His glorious and perfect character. As the child looks at the copy-plate when he is learning to write, so the Christian looks unto Christ as his perfect model. It is a look of imitation—copying His fair example. His language is, ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy.’


(5) It is a look of hope and joyful expectation. Christ is absent from our sight, but we have the promise that He will come again. Saints are looking for His second appearance. This often fills their thoughts. They ‘love His appearing,’ looking for and hasting to the coming of the day of God. This is the look of constant watchfulness, that they may be found of Him with their loins girded and their lamps lighted. All Christians should be in the attitude of watchers, for they know not the day nor the hour when their Lord comes.”

An Excerpt from ‘Practical Truths’ by Archibald Alexander